The amount of data generated by numerical simulations in various scientific domains led to a fundamental redesign of how the analysis and visualization of simulation outputs are performed. The throughput and capacity of storage subsystems have not evolved as fast as the computing power in extreme-scale supercomputers, making the classical post-hoc approach highly inefficient. In situ processing has then emerged as a solution in which simulation and data analysis/visualization are intertwined for better performance and greater interactivity.
Determining the best allocation, i.e., how many resources to allocate to simulation and analysis respectively, mapping, i.e., where and at which frequency to run the analysis/visualization, and data transfer mode is a complex task whose performance assessment is crucial to the efficient execution of in situ processing. However, such a performance evaluation of different strategies usually relies either on directly running them on the targeted execution environments, which can rapidly become extremely time- and resource-consuming, or on resorting to simplified models of the components of an in situ application, which can lack of realism. In both cases, the validity of the performance evaluation is limited.
In this paper, we present Sim-Situ, a simulation-based framework for the faithful performance evaluation of in situ processing strategies. We designed Sim-Situ to reflect the typical features of in situ processing systems. Thanks to its modular design, Sim-situ has the necessary flexibility to easily and faithfully evaluate the behavior and performance of various allocation, mapping, and data transfer strategies. We illustrate the simulation capabilities of Sim-Situ on a Molecular Dynamics use case. We study the impact of different strategies on performance and show how users can leverage Sim-Situ to determine interesting tradeoffs when adding analysis/visualization components to their application.